Can Laptop Run Without RAM? (Revealed)

  • Reading time:11 mins read
  • Post category:Hardware
  • Post last modified:August 23, 2022
You are currently viewing Can Laptop Run Without RAM? (Revealed)

A laptop requires several things to run smoothly and correctly, including a motherboard, Central Processing Unit (CPU), and Random Access Memory (RAM). However, can a laptop run without RAM?

RAM is one of the essential components of a laptop. If there is the right type and amount of RAM, it makes a laptop perform efficiently. If your laptop has no RAM, it is not a laptop. A laptop’s memory is a critical part of how it functions.

My laptop DID NOT run without RAM. The laptop needs enough RAM to allow the system BIOS to be loaded once the machine is turned on. If no RAM is detected on Post On Self Test (POST), an error beep is heard, repeating once every second. In short, a laptop will not turn on without RAM.

In this post, I will explain what RAM is, its importance, why a laptop cannot run without it, and more!

What is RAM?

RAM acts as a place for storing data temporarily for faster write and read capabilities. It helps address the slow memory processing. It uses demultiplexing and multiplexing circuitry, connecting data lines with storage.

To make things simpler, imagine RAM as a laptop’s short-term memory. Everything a RAM store is temporary.

As a volatile technology, RAM forgets everything it stored once it loses power. Since it serves as temporary storage, it handles tasks at high speeds. However, it is also why a laptop cannot run without RAM.

Can a Laptop Work Without RAM?

No. Your computer will not run without RAM. This technology is integral for the laptop to store instructions and data temporarily, allowing the CPU to access them quickly.

If your laptop has no RAM, the CPU will constantly receive data from storage. In return, your laptop’s performance slows down. 

What Happens If a Laptop Does Not Have RAM?

Upgrade Laptop from 2GB to 4GB RAM How Much Will It Cost?

A laptop requires RAM to store data and instructions that are currently working on. Without RAM, your laptop cannot send data and instructions. Therefore, it will not do anything.

If you turn on your laptop without RAM, it will display an error message saying the laptop needs RAM to function. It will freeze or crash when you try to use your machine without RAM. Remember that RAM is what allows a laptop to store information and access. Without it, your laptop will not function properly.

How Much RAM Does a Laptop Need?

The amount of RAM you need on a laptop will depend on what you do with it. An 8GB of RAM is ideal for basic tasks, like word processing and web browsing.

However, if you use your laptop for gaming and multitask using memory-intensive software, 32GB of RAM will do. Photo editing, music production, and video editing are some of the tasks that require high RAM capabilities.

Your laptop’s operating system also helps determine the amount of RAM you need. For instance, if you do not use heavy programs, like Adobe Photoshop or video games, Windows 10 can have a minimum of 4GB.

On the other hand, the maximum space for Windows 10 should be 4GB if you have a 32-bit Windows. For a 64-bit Windows 10, it is possible to upgrade up to 128GB. 

If you are an average laptop user who wishes for fast processing and playing games without a speed issue, it is enough to have 8GB of RAM. However, for virtual reality users who constantly work with CAD programs or play games, upgrading to 16GB of RAM is recommended.

To give you a bigger picture, check out the following:

  • 2GB – used for cheap tablet designs; laptops require more, but older laptop with 2GB can still work for light use.
  • 4GB – used for basic Windows functionality 
  • 8GB – one of the more standard RAM amounts and an excellent option for Windows and low-level gaming
  • 16GB – provides the most value and performance for gamers and workers
  • 32GB – suitable for engineers, more intense gamers, and high-quality video editors 

How to Check a Laptop’s RAM Size?

Let me share how you can check how much Windows OS-based laptops have.

Windows 7

When determining the size of RAM in Windows 7, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Type “system,” and from the results, select System.
  3. Once the System window opens, click on the Advanced tab.
  4. Under performance, click on the Settings button.
  5. Once the Performance Options window opens, click on the Advanced tab.
  6. Click in the Memory tab 
  7. Under the Installed memory, the RAM size installed on the laptop is listed.

Windows 10

If your laptop is using Windows 10, here are the steps to determine the RAM size:

  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Type “system,” and from the results, select System.
  3. Once the System Information window opens, scroll down to the window’s bottom.
  4. Search for the Physical Memory (RAM).
  5. Under the Total, the total RAM amount installed on a laptop is listed.

What are the Different Types of RAM?

RAM is not limited to one type. I discovered different types of RAM, and here are some of the most popular ones:

  • Synchronous RAM – operates at a similar frequency as processor and is found in most laptops
  • Rambus DRAM – used with Rambus processors; fast and efficient but costly
  • DDR SDRAM – it is quick and efficient; functional with many different processors 
  • DDR2 SDRAM – has similarities to DDR SDRAM but cannot transfer data at a higher rate.
  • DDR3 SDRAM – offers higher performance than DDR SDRAM and DDR2 SDRAM.
  • DDR4 SDRAM – released in 2014, offers higher performance than previous, suitable for high-end system use.
  • DDR5 SDRAM – released in 2020 latest RAM with a higher transfer rate up to 4800 – 7200 Mhz
  • DDR6 SDRAM – will be released in 2024+

I recommend that when choosing a RAM type for your laptop, always consider the processor type you use and other components in the system.

How to Upgrade a Laptop’s RAM?

Since I needed a higher and faster performance, I decided to upgrade my laptop’s RAM. However, some things must be considered.

First, changes in RAM sticks require technological know-how. You must determine your system specifications, such as chipsets, the number of memory sticks, and their location. Leave everything to professionals if you do not have this knowledge.

You also need to determine the type of RAM your laptop has since it is not interchangeable. The system specifications determine the RAM type you can utilize. For example, you cannot use DDR3 RAM instead of a DDR4. So, DDR4 RAM is not compatible with all systems since they do not have a similar design.

Once you determine the maximum RAM amount the motherboard can accommodate, consider the following:

Quad vs. Dual Channels vs. Single

A laptop’s motherboard determines this configuration type. A Quad-channel can accommodate up to 4 RAM sticks, while a Dual-channel can support only 2 sticks. 

Some laptops only have a single slot; you can still upgrade, but it is not much.


CLXX/Timing is the latency of the memory, showing how long it takes for RAM to send instructions or data to the pins. The latency must be low for high-performance output.

RAM Frequency 

If you find DDR4-3600 RAM on your laptop, the 3600 there is the RAM frequency. The memory is from 2133 to 2666 MHz for basic tasks at cheaper costs. Memories of 3200 to 3600 MHZ or even higher provide better video editing and gaming experience. 

Are There Some Alternatives to Use a Laptop Without RAM?

Although laptops need RAM to function correctly, run programs, and access information quickly, there are some ways to use your machine without it.

  • You can use your laptop’s hard drive as RAM.
  • You can use a virtual memory program to create a RAM disk on the laptop’s hard drive. 
  • You can use a special memory type called ROM if it suits your laptop. 


CanLaptopRun Team

Hi, we're the CanLaptopRun team. We're here to help you find out if your laptop can run the latest and greatest games. We're experts in our field, and we know what it takes to get your laptop up and running. More About us

Leave a Reply